Amy Adams Is Always a Nominee and Never a Winner at the Oscars — Will That Ever Change?
By: Carson Blackwelder
You might be surprised that one of today’s biggest actresses, Amy Adams, has never won an Oscar. Despite being nominated five times in the timespan of a decade, the 42-year-old has been denied in both the best actress and best supporting actress categories — but is she alone among her peers when looking at history?
The talented redhead was nominated for best supporting actress four times — for Junebug (2005), Doubt (2008), The Fighter (2010), and The Master (2013) — before snagging a best actress nomination for American Hustle (2014). This year, Adams is considered by Scott Feinberg to be a major threat for the best actress category this year thanks to her work in Arrival (though Nocturnal Animals could garner attention, too).
Over the course of Oscar history, there have been exactly a dozen other actresses who — between the best actress and best supporting actress categories — have earned five nominations within a 10-year period just like this current darling of the Academy. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane to identify which women have attained this level of success — and see who, if any, share a career similar to that of Adams.
Two of the most-nominated ladies in Hollywood history, Meryl Streep has been up for a win a staggering 19 times (15 of which were for best actress) and Bette Davis has racked up 11 nominations (all best actress), with the former winning three (so far) and the latter winning two in her career. Where these two tie is that the most nominations they received during a decade was eight — which is quite the accomplishment.
There have been three actresses who have garnered seven nominations across these two acting categories: Greer Garson (all of which were for best actress), Jane Fonda (six of which were best actress), and Judi Dench (five of which were for best actress). Both Garson and Dench won once during 10-year intervals but each amassed six nominations during that time. Fonda, on the other hand, won twice during the same time.
There’s a slew of actresses who collected six nominations in their career — which could be either ongoing or ended. These women are Sissy Spacek, Ellen Burstyn, Jessica Lange, and Norma Shearer. Each of these thespians ended up winning one trophy during a 10-year stretch, but Lange and Shearer have the distinction of having been nominated for two Oscars within the same year and going on to win one of them.
Trailing the actresses mentioned above, Elizabeth Taylor was nominated for five Oscars — all of which were for best actress — during her career and winning two within a single decade.
Perhaps the most interesting comparison to Adams, though, is the one made when looking at Glenn Close and Deborah Kerr. These two women were both nominated for six Oscars — all best actress for Kerr and an even split for Close — putting them one more than Adams at this point. The surprising thing is that, like Adams (at least thus far), neither of these actresses ended up winning a golden statuette. Kerr admittedly did go on to receive an honorary Oscar and Close is still going strong in the acting game.
As you can see, it’s not entirely uncommon for actresses to be nominated as many times as Adams has been within a short period term of just 10 years — but it is less common for them to be nominated that many times, give or take, and go without taking home the prize and the bragging rights that come with it.
That being said, it doesn’t mean that the Academy will just hand Adams a win should she actually get a nomination this year. With stiff competition such as Emma Stone in La La Land and Natalie Portman in Jackie — just to name a few — it’s looking like a tough category as they are the major frontrunners. Adams is certainly a talented actress and certainly deserves to triumph one day, it probably just isn’t her time yet.